Do you like bread? Please note, this sermon contains gluten.
I love it, especially slathered with butter – note, not margarine, and Marmite, or jam, or both actually. I like baking bread too, feeling the flour and yeast turn into a silky dough as I use my hands and my arms to work it.
What does Jesus mean when he says that he is the Bread of life?
What is bread? in this context, it is the most basic element of any meal, the one go-to food when there is nothing else. Bread is cheaper than proteins like milk and eggs, and for many cultures it forms the basis of most meals. Pizza started out life as a food invented by peasants, who had bread, and some tomato for flavour, and a bit of meat and cheese for the top if they were lucky. It could just as easily be the rice or pasta or taro of life, and when the Bible is used in countries where other foods are the staple, bread is translated into that food. Continue reading →
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. These are really familiar words which speak of revenge. But Jesus turns them around – instead of getting revenge on our enemies, and those who have wronged us, Jesus tells us to love them. That’s really hard isn’t it?
How can we love those who have hurt us?
By reaching out in love, we can cause the people we love to feel what they have done. If we are kind when they know they don’t deserve it, their conscience will start to tell them. And then they will be changed. We too will be changed as we love our enemies. Why do they deserve our love? I don’t know, but they have God’s love. The sun and the rain are for everyone, whether good or evil. What people choose to do with their life is up to them. We can use our talents to make ourselves rich, or to help others. We can use our skills to hurt others, or to heal them. It’s a human thing. God gives us all free will, and by sending the basic resources – sun, rain, whatever is provided, God trusts us enough, and loves us enough, to leave it up to us. And God trusts us enough to love everyone.
This is a hard thing to do. It involves trusting God. God will give us this strength, and we need to leave the outcome in God’s hands. Instead of seeking an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, let us rather pray for those who annoy us, those who stop us sleeping at night, placing them in God’s hands. God is the judge – they will receive their just desserts. Meanwhile, we can relax, knowing that we don’ have to act as judge, jury and prison guard for other people.
May you know God’s freedom today as you commit others to God’s care.